Brian’s chilly dip in a tutu nets hospice £1,500

Brian Ludford at the Boxing Day swim 2014. Ref shs 3657-53-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Brian Ludford at the Boxing Day swim 2014. Ref shs 3657-53-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Friends, family and Freemasons have all helped boost a Sidmouth Boxing Day swimmer’s fundraising total to nearly £1,500.

Brian Ludford who dressed as a ballerina for the Sidmouth Boxing Day Swim and raised £1447.50 in aid

Brian Ludford who dressed as a ballerina for the Sidmouth Boxing Day Swim and raised £1447.50 in aid of Children's Hospice South West. Paula Hullett from the charity and Brian's wife, Heather, hold up the dress between them. Ref shs 8126-08-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Brian Ludford was cajoled into a tutu before he took the plunge with his daughter, Rebecca, ‘for moral support’.

As he hoped, embarrassing himself meant people dug deep.

The money he raised is going to Children’s Hospice South West, a charity that struck a chord with him after he lost his first wife to cancer.

“It was good to be part of it – it’s totally different watching and taking part,” said Brian, 66.


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“A lot of friends came down and wished me well. It was an enjoyable experience for such a good cause.

“Rebecca promised she would go in as well, but I don’t think she’ll be doing it again in a hurry.”

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Hundreds of swimmers took to the tides on Boxing Day, despite early warnings from organisers that a lack of shingle and a high tide may disrupt the event.

A piece in the Herald before the swim briefly brought Brian celebrity status and attracted a few donations, as did his membership of the Freemasons – with cash coming from across the county.

“They were very supportive,” said Brian. “A lot of people put their hands in their pockets.”

A retired general secretary of a trade organisation, he spent some of his career on building sites, as a Cancer Research fundraiser, and ran a National Trust property.

Brian recently became a grandfather and, after losing his first wife, came to appreciate the work of hospices.

“My wife was in a hospice – having gone through that I know that families of children need all the support they can get,” he said. “To lose a child must be so much harder.”

The cheque for £1,447.50 was collected by the charity’s Paula Hullett on Monday.

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